Surviving Atlanta, illegal turns and all!

(Writing from beautiful Savannah, Georgia)

Margaret Mitchell’s home. She and her husband lived in the lower-left apartment, where she typed Gone With the Wind.

Right off the bat, let me say that in my last post I overreacted just a bit with my fears of navigating around Atlanta without getting killed this past Friday. In fact, our thirty-minute drive from our hotel to Peachtree Street, the location of author Margaret Mitchell’s home, was very pleasant and enjoyable.

Perhaps it was the gorgeous 55° morning that made it so nice, but whatever it was, we found where we wanted to be without a hitch, other than my piece of careless driving which involved turning the wrong way on a very wide one-way street. Fortunately, there were only a few oncoming cars whose drivers graciously slowed to allow me to hurriedly get out of their way and turned in the right direction, before pointing out what a total moron this guy from Illinois must be!

The tour of the house lasted about thirty minutes, and the most enjoyable part was going through Mitchell’s tiny first-floor apartment where she typed her masterpiece on a small Royal typewriter, which sits on a small table surrounded by dozens of manilla folders and envelopes in which she’d place her Gone With the Wind manuscript parts. The place is set up just as it was when she and her husband lived there.

The guide provided a pretty informative and comprehensive biography of Mitchell, who, it turns out, was like many creative folks: Lacking confidence in their work and afraid to show it to anyone. The story of how she wrote her one-and-only novel is very intriguing.

Of course, afterward, the inevitable gift shop drew most of my wife’s attention, so I waited patiently studying the map to figure out just exactly how to get out of Atlanta and on to our next destination: The A.H. Stephens State Historic Park in Crawfordville, Georgia, about two-and-a-half hours to the east. Originally, we had planned to visit the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, but since we arrived in the area much later than planned, we decided there wouldn’t be time. So when we finished with the Mitchell house, it was a quick hop, skip, and a jump to the interstate we needed to connect up with I-20. Soon, we were well on our way, leaving Atlanta in our rear view mirror.

The weather was very cooperative as we motored east through very pretty country. It was wonderful to see actual green grass and bushes and trees along the way. I even had my window down a bit to let in the fresh air and to blow out the stale winter poison we brought along from Illinois.

The “Welcoming Committee” at our cottage in the pines of A.H. Stephens Historic Park, waiting for some tasty treats!

Now it was time to become immersed in the life of the man for whom the state park is named, particularly since his home is there. I had very little knowledge of the man who was the vice-president of the Confederacy and governor of Georgia.

By Saturday, I had learned much and gained a respectful appreciation for A.H. Stephens. And our two-night stay in a very nice cottage on the park grounds was a fun and pleasant experience. After all, how bad can it be when a welcoming committee of two tame, friendly, and hungry ducks patiently waited for us to get the suitcases unloaded and to find some Fritos for them!

In my next post, I’ll write more about our time in the park, touring the Stephens home and museum, a “down-home” Georgia barbecue place, and our journey on to Savannah. Stay tuned…CortlandWriter